Dream

Once upon a time I had a dream. I wrote it down…I thought about it. I talked about it, I asked questions, I did research. I did the work…I did some work, maybe not enough work. I stalled, I second guessed, I paused, I researched some more, I believed more in the not than the can be. I was afraid. I was paralyzed. What if? What do I want? Will this honor God? Will this honor me? My family? Will the work, the time, the sacrifice be for not?

How do I reconcile the dream from reality. If there is a desire in my heart, I must see it through….God would not keep pushing and urging me if it’s not important. But what is important? How do I take a break from my most important job with my little people during a pandemic and feel ok about it? Is that an excuse? Can I begin to take time for me?

These are the thoughts of a mother. A mother who loves her children and thinks of them before herself. I’m sure there are those that can relate. I have to say it, I matter too. You matter too. Your needs and success matter too. It’s okay to take a break and self-care so that you can be a wonderful role model of balance. You got this!

Action is always better than inaction. Take that action to make your dreams come true!

What dreams are you working on? What tactics do you use to balance your needs with the needs of your loved ones?

Marriage

Being married is hard and fun and amazing. The feeling is security, peace, monotony (especially during this pandemic! Total groundhog day), synchronicity, struggle, compromise, journey, love, family, friendship, love, disappointment, sadness, relief, bliss, betterment, love, hope.

There are a range of emotions because being human is hard. We have good days and bad days. We have days where we suck and say or do all the wrong things and days when we really shine. Days where we shine because of me or shine because of we. The thing about marriage is it isn’t a place for selfishness or secrets. It’s not a place to hide. It’s a place to bare your soul, to open that closet with all the ugly things inside because when it’s with the right person even the ugly is accepted.

Fighting and hurting unfortunately occur, but it is the foundation that you pour that allows those blows to ripple off. It is the work you put in each day to mesmerize your love, to thank your love which reinforces that foundation so that when the tough days come they slide by like a passing storm, thunderous but unable to destroy your masterpiece.

I think of the work my husband and I did in the beginning and I am so relieved that we fought for each other and for this beautiful life but am reminded that more must be done each day to ensure this work of art stands the test of time.

To all those working each day to build your own house and construct a house of love with your partner, keep loving, keep working and stay thankful. If you’re looking for that love of a lifetime, focus on creating the best version of yourself and the right addition will arrive at the right time as long as you’re ready and able to receive them into your life.

Love to hear your love stories! Please share how you keep your love strong.

Fearless…also known as sister

When we were kids I idolized her. She was the most beautiful funny fire-hearted person I had ever seen. One night, when I was 9 or 10 she talked me into sneaking out. She was 13 or so and beyond worldly in my eyes. I had absolute trust. After our parents were asleep for a while, I tiptoed down to her room. As I crept through the door, her smile lit the dark room. She was so excited. Was it because of the adventure to come or because I believed in her so fully?

We worked together to pull the screen out of the window, careful to make no noise. She slunk out the window with expertise. My heart beat in my ears, my palms grew moist. As I looked at her, she saw my fear and motioned for me to come closer. I stuck my head out the window and she whispered, “it’s ok, it’s not as far down as it looks and I’m here to catch you if you fall.” With that reassurance my heart began to slow and excitement crept in. I turned my body, working to descend in the same snake like style as my sister, but I looked more like a dumpling dropping into a hot pot. Before I hit the ground I felt her hands around my waist. Surrounding me in the safety net I needed to push through.

I don’t remember much else about the night. I believe we got busted and grounded. But I do remember how I felt about my sister. How much her strength encouraged me and helped me feel safe. Now that she’s gone all I have are memories. My whole life I always wished I had her strength, but maybe I do… maybe I have had it all along…maybe I can remember the fire and courage she taught me and honor her by letting go of excuses and live a life that inspires people. A life that helps other people see that you can break through fear and insecurity by following faith and believing in yourself.

God created us… created me and you to be everything our heart desires so we can serve as an example of His Grace and love. Playing small honors no one and nothing. Fear is a choice. Success is planned, disciplined actions that prepare you for opportunity.

One day, one choice, one action at a time.

How are you you honoring your spirit today?

Creating a Vision for your Future

One of my favorite exercises in the substance abuse IOP group therapy sessions was Life Mapping. My supervisor used to remind our clients that the work we were doing was great work for all people, including folks with addictions. It was just plain old, good therapy! This exercise helps clients create a clear picture for what they want in their lives. It grew out of some work one of my previous supervisors had done with a Covey leadership development class.

So, how does it work? First, you identify your core values. Examples may include family, career, spirituality, integrity, health, education and sobriety. Then you identify how your current behaviors go against those values. How are the choices and decisions I make dishonoring my core values? For example, if family is your value, perhaps your current behavior is isolating you from your family or causing arguments. Or for career, perhaps your lack of follow through or completion of deadlines is inhibiting your career growth. Here is a worksheet to get you started: VALUES WORKSHEET

Next, you identify what outcomes you would like to see for each value. What do you want in your life? For family, perhaps it is a closer relationship with loved ones, for spirituality maybe it means a closer relationship with God, and for health perhaps your outcome would be feeling well, reducing risk factors or unhealthy behaviors.

Next, you identify the tasks associated with each outcome. These would be the specific behaviors or actions that are critical to accomplishing your outcomes and staying true to your core values.

Examples of tasks for health may be: eat 5 small meals a day, count my calories, exercise 3 days per week for 30 minutes, practice meditation 5 minutes each day.

For family, some examples might include: eat dinner together every night at 6pm, spend time as a family outside the home 2 times per month for at least 2 hours doing an activity in which we are engaged with each other (not going to a movie), implement a date night on Fridays with my spouse.

For career, tasks may include: get to work 5 minutes early each day, ask for additional training, meet with my supervisor to develop a development plan. I created this worksheet: LIFE MAPPING WORKSHEET to assist you in Creating your Vision.

The next phase is consolidating your Life Map into a Vision Statement. This one can take some time, and I recommend doing a talk-through-walk-through first.

Pretend I am an old friend and have not seen you for a year, and I see you at the supermarket and say, “Hey there! I haven’t seen you in such a long time. How are you? Tell me what’s new in your life?” Using the information you gathered about what outcomes you want for your life from your Life Map, speak as though you are currently living the life you have envisioned in your diagram. Use the tasks and outcomes to describe the changes that have occurred in your life. An example may be something like this:

Gosh, Missy, so much has happened! Life is great! I feel calm and peaceful, my family relationships are loving and connected and we spend time together having fun and learning. My body is strong and ready for each new day that comes. My career has moved to a new level where I feel proud and motivated each day. My relationship with God grows each day through prayer and meditation.

As I blogged about before, creating clarity is the beginning of the process of change. Iyanla Vanzant said in a speech she gave on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, “Your eyes adjust to the amount of deficiency present.” Think about that.

Read it again….Your eyes….adjust….to the amount of deficiency present.

So you get used to deciphering life through fuzzy eyes, you adapt and compensate, and inevitably miss things. If our vision for our lives is unclear, or we cannot even see an outcome that we would like or need, than we begin to believe that the possibility of our hopes and dreams are unachievable.

The deficiency may be the story we tell ourselves, the doubts we allow others to speak into us, or the insecurities that stifle us. Sometimes we let others talk us into or out of what we truly want and sometimes we do not need any help setting ourselves back. We may even begin to believe that the dreams we have are unrealistic. How will you nurture and foster your dreams to create a vision for your future?

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?” ~ Henry Ford